Can A Person Under Age 18 File A Personal Injury Claim?

If you’re a minor and you’re hurt in a personal injury accident, your lawyer will tell you that filing a personal injury claim or case is a complex and involved process largely because you’re not legally considered to be an adult yet.

Minors are just as likely as adults to be hurt in personal injury accidents. This is the reason why they can file personal injury claims and cases. However, as personal injury lawyers know, their younger age can complicate matters somewhat.

For example, if you’re hurt in a car accident, you can’t always necessarily sue the other driver for a settlement. The reason why is because the law considers you to be a minor. You are not considered to have full legal reasoning as an adult. Therefore, you don’t have the same legal privileges and rights as adults do. Your Personal Injury Lawyer in Sault Ste. Marie will tell you that you must have a person who is at least 18 years old file a personal injury case or claim for you until you turn 18. The courts will usually appoint a guardian for you.

The Guardian Ad Litem’s role

This is the ‘friend’ or another relative who the court appoints to be your legal guardian. This person and his or her actions are crucial for you because they will determine if and how much of a settlement you will receive for your personal injury accident. The guardian is the person who will be making all legal decisions and actions for you.

Your guardian will be deciding (on your behalf) if the settlement offer you have received from the defendant is acceptable for you. The guardian must legally continually be talking with your parents during the entire negotiations process or trial for a settlement. Though your parents can influence the decisions, actions, and behavior of the guardian somewhat, the final decision has to reflect what’s best for you.

However, your case is not closed shut when you, your personal injury lawyer,and guardian reach an acceptable settlement offer or judgment for you. You don’t just get to spend the money any way you want to immediately. Instead, the funds will be placed in a safe investment or trust account until you turn 18. Your guardian has to do this for you. This person has to do so while following the appropriate rules and statutes that pertain to your state. Finally, the court and judge have to approve of your guardian’s actions.

The money is put in a different account to keep it safe until you’re a legal adult. Normally, neither you nor your parents can touch the money until then.

Personal injury law was designed to protect minors

While some minors act responsibly, others don’t. The trust and guardian provisions set forth in personal injury law were designed to protect minors from their own or from others’ irresponsible actions that could negatively affect their settlement money.